Hunt County Historical Commission


Characters & Catastrophes:
Hunt County in the News


Greenville Morning Herald, Saturday, January 5, 1946

Tornado Wrecks Business, Residence Property in Peniel
Thousands Dollars Damage When Heavy Wind Strikes Small Community Early Friday Night

More than a score of business houses and residences at Peniel were destroyed or damaged when a tornado swept through that vicinity about 9 o'clock Friday night ( January 4, 1946). Although the property damage was heavy, no one was injured, so far as could be learned.

The tornado, which eye-witnesses described as a "wind of some 80 miles an hour velocity," swept in apparently from the southwest, first striking the residences of D. L. Watson and E. M. McBride, located just west of the Katy tracks. The McBride home was completely destroyed. The tornado then swept across the tracks and struck the C. J. Thrasher Garage. It, too, was completely destroyed. The wind then apparently followed the highway north for some 200 yards, destroying or damaging a number of business buildings and residences on both sides of the highway.

Homer Wacasey's grocery store and the post office, located in the front of the Wacasey store, were almost completely destroyed, while his apartment in the rear of the store was badly damaged. Members of the family were at home at the time, but escaped injury.

The Roy Carter filling station and a vacant store building, owned by the Gibson estate, were also badly damaged.

The dairy barn and garage of Neal Parrott, east of the highway, were completely destroyed, and his house damaged.

Other residences reported damaged included: Bill Linton, P. Z. Dozier, Misses Edith and Altha Arnold, Benton Moore, Howard Addington, Charlie Massey and Ed Reynolds. Many others were not reported were thought to have been damaged.

Electric power lines, telephone lines and natural gas mains were damaged and service was suspended for a few hours following the storm.

High wind blew for several minutes in Greenville and south of the city, doing considerable damage to electric light and power and telephone lines and trees throughout the city. Linemen for the Light Department and firemen were kept busy for more than an hour answering reports of live wires being down in various sections of the city.

Two electric power poles on Stanford Street were blown down, one striking a truck, which was temporarily stranded and damaging the truck considerably.

Tornado Strikes in Other Areas
(By the Associated Press)

A tornado injured seven persons near Decatur, Texas, Friday as high winds and rains heralded a new cold wave and lashed a number of Texas cities.

Five trainmen, all of Wichita Falls, were injured when the tornado derailed three cars of a Ft. Worth and Denver freight train.

Rain squalls were reported at San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. San Antonio's storm was illuminated with brilliant electrical display. Three inches of rain fell in Bandera in 35 minutes and high winds left a trail of uprooted trees and damaged buildings in the city.

Dallas, Jan. 4 (AP) Nine persons have been killed and at least 108 injured in tornadoes that roared through North and East Texas Friday afternoon and night.

Seven persons suffered fatal injuries and 31 others were hurt as a twister ripped through several points in a ten-mile radius of the town of Palestine in East Texas. In the area of Lufkin, another East Texas town, two persons were killed and twenty were injured by a tornado. A newspaperman, George W. Hawkes, estimated that more than 50 persons were hurt by a twister just north of Lufkin. [W.Walworth Harrison note: 30 dead finally counted in Palestine and Nacogdoches. Worst storm at Nacogdoches was not known when this story was written.]

SUNRISE SHAFTS (a regular column in the Morning Herald)

Quick, brief but damaging tornadoes struck throughout East and North Texas late Friday evening and brought death to at least nine persons in its wake. Fatalities were reported near Palestine.

Peniel was the center of a sudden heavy wind that struck just about nine o'clock last night. The small community just on the edge of Greenville to the northwest was wrecked badly. More than twenty business buildings and residences were either completely wrecked or badly damaged.

The tornado is believed to have come about by peculiar weather conditions which weather observers say is brought about by cold air currents bearing down on warm currents below. The wind, which some Peniel residents said reached a velocity of eighty or ninety miles at one time, apparently came from the southwest and headed northeast. It first struck the southwest part of the residential section of Peniel, west of the Katy tracks, then swept done the highway taking its toll mostly on the west side until at the extreme north section of the town it broke away across the highway and wrecked several buildings.

Locally a heavy wind, accompanied by rain and a brilliant illumination of lightning swept the city at the same time. Trees were felled, signs were blown down and a number of light poles uprooted. As far as could be ascertained late last night, there were no fatalities in this area. Precipitation locally in the past twenty-four hours up to midnight was .85 of an inch!

Greenville Morning Herald, Tuesday, January 8, 1946

[Possibly the Sunrise Shafts column]

While there were heavy property losses at Peniel from the tornado of last Friday night, some of which were not covered by insurance, the unfortunate people of that community have one thing to be thankful for and that is that there apparently were no fatalities nor even any serious injuries suffered from the strong winds. How this happened is a miracle. If you have seen the wreckage caused by the twister, you, too, probably wondered how such damage could be done without attendant loss of life, or at least causalities in some manner. Some of the houses and buildings were completely crumpled, but it was just an act of Fate that no one happened to be in the particular spots where the buildings fell in. Another thing that could be considered a miracle was the fact that fire did not follow the tornado. For a time there were many hot wires and gas lines were broken. All in all, we suppose the victims of the Peniel storm are fortunate to have gotten by as well as they did!



Copyright 2001-
Hunt County Historical Commission
Carol Taylor, Chair

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